A renewing retreat in Cornwall

Ruth Jackson underwent a 'spa journey' to recharge her batteries by the Cornish seaside.

Taking two weeks off to recharge your batteries can feel more trouble than it's worth. Even if you escape your desk, your smartphone ends up in your peripheral vision pinging away, even on the sun lounger. What if there was a place you could go for a few days, and come back thoroughly rested, having missed very little: a super-charging break? The good news is that place exists. Even better, it's in Britain and involves a beach.

It's the Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall. Just three nights at this spa retreat will leave you feeling new and improved. This spa hotel has upped the game. The therapists here don't just concentrate on your body, they look at the complete you and come up with a plan to improve both your body and your mind.

A spa journey' starts with a one-on-one consultation, in which your therapist asks how you are feeling and if anything is bothering you. Whether you are having trouble sleeping, can't get motivated, feel disconnected, or can't put your finger on what's making you feel below par, they have a system of massage, relaxation, exercise, diet and meditation that will help.

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Yes, I said meditation but don't panic, there's no chanting or bells, this is accessible, guided meditation curling up in a dark room on a bean bag and letting your mind wander, or focusing on your breathing before a massage. I was cynical, but found myself swept away by it.


The location is fantastic, perched on a hill by the beach so you get fantastic views from every room and the sand is just a short stroll away. It's a view many Mediterranean hotels would struggle to beat.

The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and for the first time I found an open-plan system that wasn't horribly exposed. The bathroom is sectioned off with a partial wall allowing for privacy and there is a misted glass door separating the toilet and shower. The beds are huge and sumptuous, making for an easy night's sleep, although the hotel's eco-credentials mean there's no air conditioning. Sleeping with the balcony doors open is fine if you don't mind an early wake-up call from the seagulls. But given Britain's normal temperatures, the heat isn't too much of a problem.

One area that could be improved is the restaurant. The menu is fine for one night, but with many dishes barely changing from day to day and average service, it's worth heading out to one of the region's famous restaurants. Both Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen are a short drive away. I recommend the breakfasts, though. You couldn't find a better pain au chocolat in France, and the fry-up is excellent too.

The Scarlet is a rare find in Britain, a holistic spa hotel that remains down-to-earth but luxurious and which will recharge your batteries in no time at all. You are unlikely to get a phone signal, but there's free wifi so you can keep an eye on the outside world if you wish.

Further information

Rooms start from £200 B&B based on two sharing a Just Right' room. Three night spa escapes from £825 per person.For more information, call 01637-861800, or visit the website at www.scarlethotel.co.uk.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.